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  • Abstract: Pituitary x
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Iulia Potorac, Patrick Petrossians, Adrian F Daly, Orsalia Alexopoulou, Sophie Borot, Mona Sahnoun-Fathallah, Frederic Castinetti, France Devuyst, Marie-Lise Jaffrain-Rea, Claire Briet, Florina Luca, Marion Lapoirie, Flavius Zoicas, Isabelle Simoneau, Alpha M Diallo, Ammar Muhammad, Fahrettin Kelestimur, Elena Nazzari, Rogelio Garcia Centeno, Susan M Webb, Marie-Laure Nunes, Vaclav Hana, Véronique Pascal-Vigneron, Irena Ilovayskaya, Farida Nasybullina, Samia Achir, Diego Ferone, Sebastian J C M M Neggers, Brigitte Delemer, Jean-Michel Petit, Christof Schöfl, Gerald Raverot, Bernard Goichot, Patrice Rodien, Bernard Corvilain, Thierry Brue, Franck Schillo, Luaba Tshibanda, Dominique Maiter, Jean-François Bonneville and Albert Beckers

GH-secreting pituitary adenomas can be hypo-, iso- or hyper-intense on T2-weighted MRI sequences. We conducted the current multicenter study in a large population of patients with acromegaly to analyze the relationship between T2-weighted signal intensity on diagnostic MRI and hormonal and tumoral responses to somatostatin analogs (SSA) as primary monotherapy. Acromegaly patients receiving primary SSA for at least 3 months were included in the study. Hormonal, clinical and general MRI assessments were performed and assessed centrally. We included 120 patients with acromegaly. At diagnosis, 84, 17 and 19 tumors were T2-hypo-, iso- and hyper-intense, respectively. SSA treatment duration, cumulative and mean monthly doses were similar in the three groups. Patients with T2-hypo-intense adenomas had median SSA-induced decreases in GH and IGF-1 of 88% and 59% respectively, which were significantly greater than the decreases observed in the T2-iso- and hyper-intense groups (P < 0.001). Tumor shrinkage on SSA was also significantly greater in the T2-hypo-intense group (38%) compared with the T2-iso- and hyper-intense groups (8% and 3%, respectively; P < 0.0001). The response to SSA correlated with the calculated T2 intensity: the lower the T2-weighted intensity, the greater the decrease in random GH (P < 0.0001, r = 0.22), IGF-1 (P < 0.0001, r = 0.14) and adenoma volume (P < 0.0001, r = 0.33). The T2-weighted signal intensity of GH-secreting adenomas at diagnosis correlates with hormone reduction and tumor shrinkage in response to primary SSA treatment in acromegaly. This study supports its use as a generally available predictive tool at diagnosis that could help to guide subsequent treatment choices in acromegaly.

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Sylvia L Asa, Walter Kucharczyk and Shereen Ezzat

Acromegaly has traditionally been regarded as a monomorphous disorder resulting from a benign pituitary adenoma. Increasing evidence, however, is highlighting that this disorder is associated with a spectrum of morphologically distinct pituitary tumors with variable clinical, biochemical and radiologic features and differing therapeutic outcomes that are attributed to different genetic and epigenetic changes. These data underscore the need for developing a more refined clinicopathological risk stratification system and implementing personalized targeted therapeutic approaches.

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Kjell Öberg and Steven W J Lamberts

Acromegaly is a hormonal disorder that arises when the pituitary gland secretes excess growth hormone (GH), which in turn stimulates a concomitant increase in serum insulin-like growth factor 1 (IGF-1) levels. Gastroenteropancreatic neuroendocrine tumours (GEP-NET) constitute a heterogeneous group of tumours that can secrete serotonin and a variety of peptide hormones that may cause characteristic symptoms known as carcinoid syndrome or other symptoms and hormonal hypersecretion syndromes depending on the tumour’s site of origin. Current medical therapy for the treatment of acromegaly and GEP-NET involves the administration of somatostatin analogues that effectively suppress excess hormone secretion. After its discovery in 1979, octreotide became the first synthetic biologically stable somatostatin analogue with a short-acting formulation of octreotide introduced into clinical practice in the late 1980s. Lanreotide, another somatostatin analogue, became available in the mid-1990s initially as a prolonged-release formulation administered every 10 or 14 days. Long-acting release formulations of both octreotide (Sandostatin LAR and Novartis) and lanreotide (Somatuline Autogel, Ipsen), based on microparticle and nanoparticle drug-delivery technologies, respectively, were later developed, which allowed for once-monthly administration and improved convenience. First-generation somatostatin analogues remain one of the cornerstones of medical therapy in the management of pituitary and GEP-NET hormone hypersecretion, with octreotide having the longest established efficacy and safety profile of the somatostatin analogue class. More recently, pasireotide (Signifor), a next-generation multireceptor-targeted somatostatin analogue, has emerged as an alternative therapeutic option for the treatment of acromegaly. This review summarizes the development and clinical success of somatostatin analogues.

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Alberto Fernandez, Michael Brada, Lina Zabuliene, Niki Karavitaki and John A H Wass

The hypothalamic–pituitary unit is a particularly radiosensitive region in the central nervous system. As a consequence, hypopituitarism commonly develops after radiation treatments for sellar and parasellar neoplasms, extrasellar brain tumours, head and neck tumours, and following whole body irradiation for systemic malignancies. Increasing tumour-related survival rates provide an expanding population at risk of developing hypopituitarism. In this population, long-term monitoring tailored to the individual risk profile is required to avoid the sequelae of untreated pituitary hormonal deficiencies and resultant decrease in the quality of life. This review analyses the pathogenesis, prevalence and consequences of radiation-induced hypopituitarism (RIH) in diverse subgroups at risk. Also discussed is the impact of modern radiotherapy techniques in the prevalence of RIH, the spectrum of endocrine disorders and radiation-induced brain conditions that also occur in patients with RIH.

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G Minniti, M-L Jaffrain-Rea, V Esposito, A Santoro, G Tamburrano and G Cantore

Criteria to define the biochemical remission of acromegaly following surgery have changed over the years, and the current use of stringent criteria needs a critical re-evaluation of the surgical results. On the other hand, few data are currently available concerning the possible impact of pituitary surgery on the quality of life of operated acromegalic patients. In this prospective study, we wished to evaluate the initial outcome and long-term recurrence rate in a large series of acromegalic patients operated on by transsphenoidal surgery (TSS), to carefully analyse predictive factors for surgical outcome and to point out possible additional effects of surgery in these patients. Ninety-two out of 98 operated patients could be considered for follow-up. Biochemical remission was strictly defined as plasma GH levels <1 ng/ml during an oral glucose tolerance test (OGTT) and normalisation of age-related IGF-I levels. Hormonal assessment, including an OGTT, was performed 6 months following surgery and then annually to evaluate pituitary function. Fifty-five per cent of patients achieved a biochemical remission of acromegaly. The remission rate at 6 months was 80% for patients with microadenoma and 50% for macroadenoma. Univariate analysis showed that a large extrasellar extension, preoperative high GH levels and dural invasion were correlated with a poor outcome of surgery while, according to multivariate analysis, only invasion of cavernous sinus and preoperative GH levels > 10 ng/ml were independent negative predictors. Mortality was 0% and the overall complication rate was about 10%. Pituitary function worsened in five patients but improved in 16 out of 30 patients with preoperative pituitary defects. No recurrence was observed during a median follow-up of about 8 years. We conclude that TSS is able to achieve a biochemical remission in more than half of acromegalic patients, and that the current criteria for remission seem to indicate a cure in most cases.

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Lautaro Zubeldia-Brenner, Catalina De Winne, Sofia Perrone, Santiago Andres Rodriguez-Segui, Christophe Willems, Ana Maria Ornstein, Isabel Maria Lacau-Mengido, Hugo Vankelecom, Carolina Cristina and Damasia Becú-Villalobos

Preclinical and clinical studies support that Notch signaling may play an important oncogenic role in cancer, but there is scarce information for pituitary tumors. We therefore undertook a functional study to evaluate Notch participation in pituitary adenoma growth. Tumors generated in nude mice by subcutaneous GH3 somatolactotrope cell injection were treated in vivo with DAPT, a γ-secretase inhibitor, thus inactivating Notch signaling. This treatment led to pituitary tumor reduction, lower prolactin and GH tumor content, and a decrease in angiogenesis. Furthermore, in silico transcriptomic and epigenomic analyses uncovered several tumor suppressor genes related to Notch signaling in pituitary tissue, namely Btg2, Nr4a1, Men1, Zfp36, and Cnot1. Gene evaluation suggested that Btg2, Nr4a1 and Cnot1 may be possible players in GH3 xenograft growth. Btg2 mRNA expression was lower in GH3 tumors compared to the parental line, and DAPT increased its expression levels in the tumor in parallel with the inhibition of its volume. Cnot1 mRNA levels were also increased in the pituitary xenografts by DAPT treatment. And the Nr4a1 gene was lower in tumors compared to the parental line, though not modified by DAPT. Finally, because DAPT in vivo may be also acting on tumor microenvironment, we determined the direct effect of DAPT on GH3 cells in vitro. We found that DAPT decreases the proliferative, secretory and migration potential of GH3 cells. These results position selective interruption of Notch signaling as a potential therapeutic tool in adjuvant treatments for aggressive or resistant pituitary tumors.

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Elina Ritvonen, Eliisa Löyttyniemi, Pia Jaatinen, Tapani Ebeling, Leena Moilanen, Pirjo Nuutila, Ritva Kauppinen-Mäkelin and Camilla Schalin-Jäntti

Objective

It is unclear whether mortality still is increased in acromegaly and whether there are gender-related differences. We dynamically assessed outcome during long-term follow-up in our nationwide cohort.

Patients and methods

We studied standardized mortality ratios (SMRs) relative to the general population and causes of death in acromegaly (n=333) compared with age- and gender-matched controls (n=4995).

Results

During 20 (0–33) years follow-up, 113 (34%) patients (n=333, 52% women) and 1334 (27%) controls (n=4995) died (P=0.004). SMR (1.9, 95% CI: 1.53–2.34, P<0.001) and all-cause mortality (OR 1.6, 95% CI: 1.2–2.2, P<0.001) were increased in acromegaly. Overall distribution of causes of death (P<0.001) differed between patients and controls but not cardiovascular (34% vs 33%) or cancer deaths (27% vs 27%). In acromegaly, but not in controls, causes of deaths shifted from 44% cardiovascular and 28% cancer deaths during the first decade, to 23% cardiovascular and 35% cancer deaths during the next two decades. In acromegaly, cancer deaths were mostly attributed to pancreatic adenocarcinoma (n=5), breast (n=4), lung (n=3) and colon (n=3) carcinoma. In acromegaly, men were younger than women at diagnosis (median 44.5 vs 50 years, P<0.001) and death (67 vs 76 years, P=0.0015). Compared with controls, women (36% vs 25%, P<0.01), but not men (31% vs 28%, P=0.44), had increased mortality.

Conclusions

In acromegaly, men are younger at diagnosis and death than women. Compared with controls, mortality is increased during 20 years of follow-up, especially in women. Causes of deaths shift from predominantly cardiovascular to cancer deaths.

Open access

Patrick Petrossians, Adrian F Daly, Emil Natchev, Luigi Maione, Karin Blijdorp, Mona Sahnoun-Fathallah, Renata Auriemma, Alpha M Diallo, Anna-Lena Hulting, Diego Ferone, Vaclav Hana Jr, Silvia Filipponi, Caroline Sievers, Claudia Nogueira, Carmen Fajardo-Montañana, Davide Carvalho, Vaclav Hana, Günter K Stalla, Marie-Lise Jaffrain-Réa, Brigitte Delemer, Annamaria Colao, Thierry Brue, Sebastian J C M M Neggers, Sabina Zacharieva, Philippe Chanson and Albert Beckers

Acromegaly is a rare disorder caused by chronic growth hormone (GH) hypersecretion. While diagnostic and therapeutic methods have advanced, little information exists on trends in acromegaly characteristics over time. The Liège Acromegaly Survey (LAS) Database, a relational database, is designed to assess the profile of acromegaly patients at diagnosis and during long-term follow-up at multiple treatment centers. The following results were obtained at diagnosis. The study population consisted of 3173 acromegaly patients from ten countries; 54.5% were female. Males were significantly younger at diagnosis than females (43.5 vs 46.4 years; P < 0.001). The median delay from first symptoms to diagnosis was 2 years longer in females (P = 0.015). Ages at diagnosis and first symptoms increased significantly over time (P < 0.001). Tumors were larger in males than females (P < 0.001); tumor size and invasion were inversely related to patient age (P < 0.001). Random GH at diagnosis correlated with nadir GH levels during OGTT (P < 0.001). GH was inversely related to age in both sexes (P < 0.001). Diabetes mellitus was present in 27.5%, hypertension in 28.8%, sleep apnea syndrome in 25.5% and cardiac hypertrophy in 15.5%. Serious cardiovascular outcomes like stroke, heart failure and myocardial infarction were present in <5% at diagnosis. Erythrocyte levels were increased and correlated with IGF-1 values. Thyroid nodules were frequent (34.0%); 820 patients had colonoscopy at diagnosis and 13% had polyps. Osteoporosis was present at diagnosis in 12.3% and 0.6–4.4% had experienced a fracture. In conclusion, this study of >3100 patients is the largest international acromegaly database and shows clinically relevant trends in the characteristics of acromegaly at diagnosis.

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Albert Beckers, Maya Beth Lodish, Giampaolo Trivellin, Liliya Rostomyan, Misu Lee, Fabio R Faucz, Bo Yuan, Catherine S Choong, Jean-Hubert Caberg, Elisa Verrua, Luciana Ansaneli Naves, Tim D Cheetham, Jacques Young, Philippe A Lysy, Patrick Petrossians, Andrew Cotterill, Nalini Samir Shah, Daniel Metzger, Emilie Castermans, Maria Rosaria Ambrosio, Chiara Villa, Natalia Strebkova, Nadia Mazerkina, Stéphan Gaillard, Gustavo Barcelos Barra, Luis Augusto Casulari, Sebastian J Neggers, Roberto Salvatori, Marie-Lise Jaffrain-Rea, Margaret Zacharin, Beatriz Lecumberri Santamaria, Sabina Zacharieva, Ee Mun Lim, Giovanna Mantovani, Maria Chaira Zatelli, Michael T Collins, Jean-François Bonneville, Martha Quezado, Prashant Chittiboina, Edward H Oldfield, Vincent Bours, Pengfei Liu, Wouter W de Herder, Natalia Pellegata, James R Lupski, Adrian F Daly and Constantine A Stratakis

X-linked acrogigantism (X-LAG) is a new syndrome of pituitary gigantism, caused by microduplications on chromosome Xq26.3, encompassing the gene GPR101, which is highly upregulated in pituitary tumors. We conducted this study to explore the clinical, radiological, and hormonal phenotype and responses to therapy in patients with X-LAG syndrome. The study included 18 patients (13 sporadic) with X-LAG and microduplication of chromosome Xq26.3. All sporadic cases had unique duplications and the inheritance pattern in two families was dominant, with all Xq26.3 duplication carriers being affected. Patients began to grow rapidly as early as 2–3 months of age (median 12 months). At diagnosis (median delay 27 months), patients had a median height and weight standard deviation scores (SDS) of >+3.9 SDS. Apart from the increased overall body size, the children had acromegalic symptoms including acral enlargement and facial coarsening. More than a third of cases had increased appetite. Patients had marked hypersecretion of GH/IGF1 and usually prolactin, due to a pituitary macroadenoma or hyperplasia. Primary neurosurgical control was achieved with extensive anterior pituitary resection, but postoperative hypopituitarism was frequent. Control with somatostatin analogs was not readily achieved despite moderate to high levels of expression of somatostatin receptor subtype-2 in tumor tissue. Postoperative use of adjuvant pegvisomant resulted in control of IGF1 in all five cases where it was employed. X-LAG is a new infant-onset gigantism syndrome that has a severe clinical phenotype leading to challenging disease management.

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Fabio R Faucz, Anelia D Horvath, Monalisa F Azevedo, Isaac Levy, Beata Bak, Ying Wang, Paraskevi Xekouki, Eva Szarek, Evgenia Gourgari, Allison D Manning, Rodrigo Bertollo de Alexandre, Emmanouil Saloustros, Giampaolo Trivellin, Maya Lodish, Paul Hofman, Yvonne C Anderson, Ian Holdaway, Edward Oldfield, Prashant Chittiboina, Maria Nesterova, Nienke R Biermasz, Jan M Wit, Daniel J Bernard and Constantine A Stratakis

IGSF1 is a membrane glycoprotein highly expressed in the anterior pituitary. Pathogenic mutations in the IGSF1 gene (on Xq26.2) are associated with X-linked central hypothyroidism and testicular enlargement in males. In this study, we tested the hypothesis that IGSF1 is involved in the development of pituitary tumors, especially those that produce growth hormone (GH). IGSF1 was sequenced in 21 patients with gigantism or acromegaly and 92 healthy individuals. Expression studies with a candidate pathogenic IGSF1 variant were carried out in transfected cells and immunohistochemistry for IGSF1 was performed in the sections of GH-producing adenomas, familial somatomammotroph hyperplasia, and in normal pituitary. We identified the sequence variant p.N604T, which in silico analysis suggested could affect IGSF1 function, in two male patients and one female with somatomammotroph hyperplasia from the same family. Of 60 female controls, two carried the same variant and seven were heterozygous for other variants. Immunohistochemistry showed increased IGSF1 staining in the GH-producing tumor from the patient with the IGSF1 p.N604T variant compared with a GH-producing adenoma from a patient negative for any IGSF1 variants and with normal control pituitary tissue. The IGSF1 gene appears polymorphic in the general population. A potentially pathogenic variant identified in the germline of three patients with gigantism from the same family (segregating with the disease) was also detected in two healthy female controls. Variations in IGSF1 expression in pituitary tissue in patients with or without IGSF1 germline mutations point to the need for further studies of IGSF1 action in pituitary adenoma formation.